Longtime scout Frank Piliere of MLB Fanhouse recently penned a piece about two young Yankee pitchers whose careers appear to be going in opposite directions, one being Phil Hughes and the other Joba Chamberlain. He writes:
Remember when Phil Hughes was the Yankees’ number one prospect? Somewhere along the line, after Hughes’ experienced some injury problems, Joba Chamberlain became the center of attention. It was easy to forget back then that Chamberlain was once considered a far less safe commodity than Hughes, with scouts having real concerns about his conditioning, long-term health, and ability to maintain his stuff.
Hughes, on the other hand, was known as the complete package. As time went on, however, it was Chamberlain who received the hype and praise while Hughes was pushed to the back burner. Now, almost three years after each player debuted in the major leagues, the projections scouts made seem to be coming to pass. Thursday, a night which Phil Hughes showed front-of-the-rotation type stuff, was just a small example of that.
You had to be impressed with Hughes’ ability to mix up his pitches facing a dangerous Angels lineup. For the past few seasons Phil had been mostly a 2-pitch Pitcher, allowing hitters to sit on a fastball which was sitting 89-91 MPH as a starter. But last Thursday, his old velocity from his days in the minors of 93-94 as a Starter was back, along with the much-rumored and rarely seen ‘late life’ we had heard so much about when he was first called up. He was also able to keep hitters off balance mixing in secondary stuff. I liked his aggressiveness, all too often in recent years Phil just looked tentative on the mound, especially after getting hit. I remember a few times early last year when I saw him at the stadium where he’d come out early throwing hard, then would give up a few hits and the velocity dropped off substantially. Now he seems more able to maintain his approach. The 5 BB didn’t bother me so much, since I thought he was getting squeezed by Home Plate Umpire Jerry Layne all night. I did love the way he worked off his Fastball, using it to set up Curve. When a hitter was able to foul off his Fastball-Curve combo, he mixed in the Cutter and Change. That’s something he wasn’t able to do in previous years. Simply repeating that performance with a more normal strike zone in future outings should produce outstanding results.
Next, Piliere addresses Joba-
Where the velocity went could be debated all the day long. But in general Chamberlain just isn’t as aggressive as he once was on the mound. We used to see him explode through the finish in his delivery and be able to drive the ball down in the zone. Now, he doesn’t appear to be finishing his pitches with the same aggression and in turn isn’t generating the same velocity. When Chamberlain was moved into the rotation, he toned down his delivery so he wasn’t so maximum-effort and could pace himself. The problem is he still seems to be pitching with that same approach, and still appears to be pacing himself. Why that is the case is difficult to tell for sure. Since experiencing shoulder problems perhaps he just isn’t as willing to let the ball fly, or maybe it just isn’t there. Either way, it can’t be argued anymore that his velocity is anything resembling what it was in 2007.
I’ve noticed the exact same things, though I suspect the Yanks have long told Joba to tone things down, fearing injury. When he was first called up in 07, he was sitting in the high 90s with the 4 seam fastball and the high 80s with a nasty slider. Even later that same year, I noticed the slider dropping off into the low 80s. I suspected at the time that the Yanks told him to back off on the slider to protect his elbow, and may have done the same with his Fastball. Joba of 07 fell in love with lighting up radar guns, with the Yankee Stadium crowds buzzing after every triple-digit pitch. But there’s a lot of medical evidence showing that the body simply isn’t designed to throw a baseball that hard, and doing so raises injury risk substantially. It’s not as if he can’t get hitters out throwing fastballs in the mid-90s and sliders in the mid 80s. Given his injury history and (let’s be honest) his obvious lack of conditioning, its the prudent approach to take.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees